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I am not an athlete

Why have we settled for this view of King’s where academia is all that we have? Why aren’t we working to further this reputation of excellence in sport, as we are our reputation for excellence in academics?

I am not an athlete. I wouldn’t even say I’m anything close to athletic. Most sports scare me. I’m uncoordinated. I am not an athlete.
I am, however, a fan of sports. I am not particularly hard to miss. I wear a lot of Blue Jays paraphernalia and am pretty proud to call them my favourite team, as far as baseball goes.
This has caused some problems for me, though. Don’t get me wrong; I love the heckling, the “Why would you like that team when team x is better,” and all of the Jays hate. It gives me something to be passionate about beside Kant. What I don’t like is the “Why do you like sports? Isn’t it boring? I can’t stand thing x or y about z.”
As a fan, this hurts me; as a student of this school, it worries me.  These questions have, in my experience, come from a place of ignorance and a refusal to learn. In my experience, these questions have come from a place that is the antithesis of what King’s represents.
This article, despite how it appears at first glance, is not about me. It is about our collective ignorance about the sports that our classmates perform exceptionally well in. If this perception of sports bothers me, I wonder how the people who are actually playing feel. Is it not bad enough that their achievements are vastly ignored by the majority of our student body, that we also have to frequently bad mouth what they love and enjoy in all of our spaces?
Why don’t we care more? We have before.

(Photo: Rebecca Hussman)

Five years ago, when I first toured our beloved campus, my tour guide told me about the fabled “King’s Army” and it sounded fantastic. For those of you who don’t know, the “King’s Army” is a group of enthusiastic King’s students who went out to cheer on our sports teams – albeit mostly the men’s rugby team – and make sure they knew that they were supported and loved in our community. Why did we stop? What happened?
Historically, we’ve been very good at sports. When my grandmother attended our fine educational institution, there was a mandatory one hour of exercise per week in order to graduate. We here at King’s are all about our history, aren’t we?
So why do we choose to ignore this? Why have we settled for this view of King’s where academia is all that we have? Why aren’t we working to further this reputation of excellence in sport, as we are our reputation for excellence in academics?
(Photo: Sander Ragetli)

We say we’re worried about the strength of our community, worried that we need to be more unified, that we don’t know how to be more than this small box – or quad – that we’ve grown comfortable in. Yet every year, it seems, we become increasingly closed to those who do not fit our residence and FYP-centred idea of what it is to be a King’s student – even though there are so many ways to be a contributing member of our community that are equally important and valid.
I am not an athlete, but this is a call to action. We need to change our new views on sport. We need to revive old traditions that have been forgotten. We need to overcome our fear of the unknown and learn. We need to have the courage to become full members of our community and recognize its fullness instead of this half-view that we have started to prefer.

By David J. Shuman

David is a second-year journalism student at King's, is engagement/news editor of The Watch, and a copy editor of The Pigeon. He writes on student politics, campus happenings, and school news. 

One reply on “I am not an athlete”

As a former player on the Blue Devils badminton, basketball and soccer teams, for 4 years each, I completely agree. Our soccer team only ever had 2 fans, my boyfriend and my best friend’s boyfriend. We got 4th at nationals. I now live in a small city in Alberta and that college team draws 50 fans a game, and they’re nowhere near as good. Show your school pride! Support your Blue Devils!

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